Maurice Sendak

25 Days – Book 2: Nutcracker

Day 2 of the picture book countdown to Christmas includes this book which is probably cheating to be called a picture book. At 102 pages, this is much more of a storybook, chapter book, or…? But the Nutcracker story is a classic Christmas tale and this edition by Maurice Sendak is a delightfully unique version of the famous story. Here’s E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker, translated by Ralph Manheim, with pictures by Maurice Sendak, 1984.

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How To Be An Excellent Father: a few observations from Father Bear Comes Home by Minarik & Sendak

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Sunday was Father’s Day in the U.S. and I have been determined to do a companion to my Mother’s Day post last month, this time looking at Father Bear from our beloved Little Bear book series. Now, I am not a father, so it feels a little weird to be writing a “how-to” post on something I am not and won’t ever be. But Father Bear is such a strong literary character that it seems only fitting to devote a post to him in celebration of the holiday. In the children’s literature world, parents are often quite terrible or non-existent; so I adore the solid, faithful figure Father Bear presents. Let’s take a look at a few of Father Bear’s strengths and celebrate the joy of fatherhood through him. Here are my observations on how to be a great dad as seen in Father Bear Comes Home by Else Holmelund Minarik, pictures by Maurice Sendak, 1959. Read the full post…

How To Be An Excellent Mother: a few observations from Little Bear by Minarik & Sendak

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day here in the United States. It is an interesting holiday, that most consider to be a marketing ploy, although a previous book I’ve discussed taught me differently. I sheepishly admit that I don’t care too much about Mother’s Day. It is a fine holiday, but always feels a little overdone to me. I do love my mother and mother-in-law, and I never turn down a lovely gift or two or flowers or chocolates or any combination thereof. And I am honored that I am a mother with two children of my own. But perhaps it is because I am in what is considered the throes of toddlerhood that I feel being a mother just isn’t always marvelous. It is hard stuff. Pantloads of patience are required. Motherhood asks for lots of creativity, multitasking, functioning on very little sleep, and did I mention patience?

Well this year, I found myself pondering Mother’s Day a bit differently. My oldest daughter currently holds a deep love for the Little Bear series. As any self-respecting bibliophile would do, I introduced her to the books first. She loved them. And then I happened to remember an animated series based on the books that ran years ago. I looked it up and presto, an obsession was born. We don’t do much watching of anything around here, Mary Poppins being the typical sick-day fare, but a short “Little Bear” here and there have been much delighted in by my daughter and me as well. The books are phenomenal, and the animated series does pretty well at representing them well, although I have some beefs with the completely made up episodes and especially the added characters with more annoying characteristics. But I digress.

All this to say, I have become very familiar with the Little Bear family and I now have a very deep fondness and admiration for Mother Bear. So here, for my day after Mother’s Day post, I am resurrecting the “How To” posts to admire and learn from Little Bear’s fabulous and dearly loved Mother Bear. With the help of the first of the books, Little Bear, by Else Holmelund Minarik, pictures by Maurice Sendak, 1957, here are my five ways to be an excellent mother: Read the full post…

How To: Children’s Book Character Costumes Part 1

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It’s that time of year again for all sorts of crazy costuming. While this holiday is still not my favorite, I have taken great pleasure in coming up with some more children’s book characters that would be somewhat simple to create costumes. Actually, I may have gone a little overboard with these ideas but once I got started, I just couldn’t stop thinking of more! So, I’m going to break it up into several posts.

As in my last posts with costume ideas, I’m not going to make the costumes to show you. I sincerely do not have time for all that, though it would be a blast. I am simply going to post an image of the character along with what I consider the supplies list and ideas for making a similar look. I prefer being an idea-giver! I would love it if you do create one and send me a photo! Cute kids in costumes are awesome. Read the full post…

Maurice Sendak And Fan Mail

“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”

Maurice Sendak